March Book Review: Little Princes
So, this month I watched both seasons of Downton Abbey. I heard that this counts as reading a book… No? well, sigh…. Oh the Crawleys though… sigh….
k, anyway, in the real world, I did read a book this month. I love it when books find me rather than the other way around, and this one found me via my sister-in-law Ashley. We traded – she got last month’s read Kisses from Katie. So the book of this month is: Little Princes by Conor Grennan. Its a true story about the author’s experience working in orphanages in Nepal and later starting his own organization there.
Appropriately enough, the book opens when the author is 29. He quits his job and decides to spend his life savings traveling the world for an entire year. I totally identify with that sentiment. I would do it too, except I’m unfortunately too responsible.
Anyway Conor decides to spend the first three months of the adventure working at a children’s home in Kathmandu called Little Princes (to make up for the irresponsibility of blowing his life savings on himself in one fell swoop). He does go on to circle the globe having adventures, but that’s not what the book is about. After his travels are over, he goes back to Nepal and makes a discovery that changes things for him. The orphans he has come to love are actually not orphans at all. Instead, they are victims of child-trafficking complicated by a decade long civil war, extreme poverty, and geography that makes travel and communication very difficult.
I’ll let you read the details yourself but Conor forms Next Generation Nepal and begins a crazy journey against steep odds – finding and reconnecting these Nepali families. Its an action-packed story and he does a great job of making you feel the anxiety that he must have felt through each challenge. That in itself makes the book hard to put down.
One thing that really stood out to me is the enormous complexity of the situation. A refrain in the book is that, in Nepal, there are no easy answers. The kids have been separated from their families for years. They may no longer speak the same language. The family may be too poor to support the child. The family may even prefer the child to remain in the orphanage, where he is warm, fed, and being educated. After all, that’s exactly what the families paid the child trafficker for in the first place. Conor’s organization is making progress, but there is a lot to be done and there aren’t many happy endings where the mom just scoops up her long lost child and skips off into the sunset.
Of course happy endings come in other colors too and you have to rejoice at any bit of progress, even small steps.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27